It is 10 years since I first walked into St Mary de Crypt Church. I had tried to visit before but found the church locked. Finally my perseverance paid off and I was not disappointed. Light shone through the beautiful East window spilling into an otherwise dark church. The sense of history, spirituality and prayer was palpable. This was a historic place but more; this was a holy space where the stories of many of the people of the city meet with the story of God.
Finding a new direction for a church in danger of redundancy is no small task. Factor in an adjoining Tudor schoolroom and the challenge is even greater. Looking back over these 10 years, I could not have imagined the journey that so many of us embarked upon. But seeing the buildings so beautifully restored and enjoyed makes the tenacious hard work worthwhile.
Anyone who attended our opening service in March will know what a joyful event it was. As we head towards the start of our ninth month of operation, we continue to be delighted by how excited people are to use the buildings and how positive both visitors and residents are about the refurbishment and interpretation.
Packed into this first summer we have welcomed over 12,000 visitors, held concerts, drama, talks and exhibitions, hosted events for the Christian Arts Festival, Three Choirs Festival and our own Festival of Death and Life (see more below). We are providing regular space for adult education, community choir and drama rehearsals, tai chi, toddler play, art classes and coffee, cake and conversation mornings. Our regular Friday lunchtime service ‘Prayers for the City’ is re-established and the Raikes Chapel is a quiet reflective space for all.
Discover DeCrypt is proud to be a part of the heritage led regeneration of Gloucester. The buildings are a gift to the city; may they continue to be appreciated and enjoyed for many years to come.
Canon Nikki Arthy
Coming up this month…
The Darkest Midnight
Papagena performs at Discover DeCrypt this Saturday 4pm
Come out of the cold and rain this weekend for some heavenly music with mince pies and mulled apple juice to drive away the winter chill.
A seasonal programme featuring Celtic carols, Christmas motets from medieval England and Spain, winter songs – including a stunning arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s The River – and contemporary carols for singers and handbells – something for everyone!
extraordinary voices…went down a storm (Sarah Walker BBC Radio 3)
Transgender Day of Remembrance Thursday 20 November 11.00am-3.00pm
Members of the LGBTQ+ community will be holding vigil to mark this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance. Join us at any time during the day to light a candle and say a prayer for the lives lost to anti-transgender violence and prejudice over the past year and in previous years. All are welcome.
Three Shires Craft Fair
Saturday 23 & Sunday 24th November 10.00am – 4.30pm
The Crafters return with their gorgeous hand-made goods. From practical household items to the quirky and delightfully superfluous – you will find unique gifts here for all tastes and at affordable prices. Free entry with refreshments available in the Schoolroom.
Christmas Craft Workshop
Saturday 30 November 10.30am – 4.00pm
If you like flexing your creative muscles, then this workshop will offer plenty to enjoy. Make your own Christmas wreaths, swags and scented pomanders from dried fruit and foliage. Other crafts will include felting soap, decorating candles, creating winter lanterns and turning sticks and stones into unique toys, stylish gifts or personal keepsakes. We will be running activities suitable for all ages, so bring the children or grandchildren. There will be festive refreshments with cookie decorating (and cookie eating…) to keep the little ones happy.
“Death is normal – it happens to all of us – but when somebody dies everyone acts like something’s gone horribly wrong!” Erica Bust
Over the weekend of June 21-23 we staged the city’s first ever Festival of Death and Life. It was a programme of music, poetry and talks, together with a creative art display and crafts for the family.
You might think that a weekend with talks about such things as grief and funerals would be miserable – in fact, while there were many thought-provoking moments, there was a lot of laughter. There is something liberating in facing the inescapable realities of life. As local writer Erica Buist put it: “Death is normal – it happens to all of us – but when somebody dies everyone acts like something’s gone horribly wrong!”
With inspiring speakers, thoughtful discussions, new ideas and a genuinely supportive atmosphere, it turned out to be a great weekend – so much to enjoy, so much to think about.
We are now planning the next Festival of Death and Life – if you’d like to hear more about it as our plans progress, just email us at email@example.com
It’s good to talk – let’s all be part of the conversation. Sandra Millar, Head of Life Events
God’s Beautiful Acre Calling all local gardeners…your churchyard needs you!
Working with our neighbours and local residents, there are exciting plans to improve the churchyard with new planting and paths. If you are a keen gardener, or even if you just enjoy doing something active in the fresh air, then this project is for you. We need plenty of willing hands to help tackle the weeds and take care of newly seeded grass. This is a great opportunity to turn the churchyard into a beautiful green oasis in the city centre.
Dear Old Cryptians,
It has been a quite extraordinary year for us all, but I do hope that this note from your old school finds you all safe and well. The Crypt has endured through the ups and downs of the last 9 months,